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Dynasty & Redraft: QB Trey Lance, 49ers


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Scouting Trey Lance: North Dakota State QB similar to Andrew Luck

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When it comes to developing NFL quarterbacks, a few schools jump to the front of my mind: USC, Oklahoma and North Dakota State. Wait, what? Yes, North Dakota State! The Bison have dominated the FCS for the last decade, and their two previous starting quarterbacks emerged as NFL draft picks. After being selected No. 2 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016, Carson Wentz has emerged as a top-tier NFL starter. His successor at NDSU, Easton Stick, was picked by the Los Angeles Chargers in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. I believe their current starter, Trey Lance, has the potential to be the best of the bunch. Here's my scouting report on the redshirt sophomore.

Height, weight: 6-foot-3, 224 pounds (school measurements).

2019 statistics: 192 of 287 (66.9 percent) for 2,786 yards, 28 TDs and 0 INTs; 169 carries for 1,100 yards (6.5 average), 14 TDs.

Game tape watched: Delaware (Sept. 14, 2019), UC Davis (Sept. 21, 2019), Nicholls (Dec. 7, 2019).

What I liked: When I evaluate quarterbacks, I try to narrow my focus to these five key areas: poise, accuracy, decision-making, play-making ability and toughness. After studying the aforementioned three games, I can confidently state that Lance is off the charts in all five areas. Let's look at each of them individually:

Poise: This is the most important trait for a quarterback, in my opinion. How do you perform when under pressure or in critical moments? When everything around you speeds up, do you have the ability to slow down and remain calm? Lance never looks rattled. He calmly and smoothly sidesteps pocket pressure while keeping his eyes downfield. He excels on third downs and in the red zone, always making the proper decision.

Accuracy: I say this all the time: Do not get caught up in completion percentage when evaluating accuracy. Lance completed nearly 67 percent of his passes, which is impressive, but the tape showed he was even more accurate than that number indicates. His ball placement is excellent. He really trusts his eyes and throws with anticipation, which allows his receivers better opportunities to run after the catch. He can layer the ball in the middle of the field (over linebackers and under safeties) and he excels on bucket throws (deep balls over the top).

Decision-making: I've never evaluated a draft prospect with this stat line: 28 touchdowns, 0 interceptions. You read that correctly. He had zero interceptions. When I saw that number, I expected to find an overly cautious player on tape. That wasn't the case, though. He is selectively aggressive. When there are big-play opportunities, he lets it rip and will fit the ball in tight quarters. However, he's very content to take his checkdown options if nothing emerges down the field. He makes full-field reads, and he's very quick to get to his third option before delivering the ball to the proper location.

Play-making ability: Here are the two questions I ask myself when evaluating this skill/trait: 1) Can you make something happen when the play breaks down? 2) Can you use your legs to pick up yards when the defense provides you with those opportunities? Lance can do both, and he does it effortlessly. He has outstanding instincts to avoid and create from the pocket and excels on designed quarterback options/runs. He's very athletic and generates big plays because of it.

Toughness: I noticed Lance's toughness mostly when he was used as a runner. He ran over a safety on the way to the end zone in the UC Davis game. He's very strong/sturdy, and he doesn't shy away from contact. I saw the same things from Wentz during his time in Fargo.

Where he needs to improve: More than anything else, Lance just needs to play more snaps. He has started for only one season. I was really looking forward to watching him play against a very talented Oregon defense this fall, but that game has been canceled. The lack of big-time competition might bother some evaluators, but I'm comfortable with what I've seen thus far. Aside from that, there is one mechanical thing he can adjust and improve on. Occasionally, he will fall off the mound on throws to his left. His front side opens up too early and his placement can be affected. That is very easily correctable.

Biggest takeaway: I was shocked at the maturity in Lance's game. It's uncommon to see a redshirt senior demonstrate this type of control and mastery of a system. Lance was a redshirt freshman! He does a wonderful job staying in the moment and executing. I didn't expect to see such a polished player at this stage of his development.

He reminds me of: Andrew Luck. I know Luck is a little bit bigger, but they are similar athletes and they both played with a maturity beyond their age at the collegiate level. I remember watching Luck run over defenders. I also remember being so impressed with his ability to execute on key plays in every game. I see the same things when I study Lance. More than anything else, these are two guys who exude confidence on the field. They are fearless, but they avoid being reckless. That's a very delicate balance. Luck was on his way to a Hall of Fame career before shocking the football world and retiring a year ago. I don't have quite the same grade on Lance, but he could get there with continued growth and development.

 

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He is the first person to be drafted by an NFL team that was born this century. Makes me feel so old!

He completed nearly 67% of his passes and his TD:INT ratio was 28:0. That's a zero at the end. 

But I could see one of those teens moving up and spending their allowance on him.

I've been on the Trey Lance bandwagon since he started at NDST. Probably their best QB since Wentz there. Has a range of good tools. Am I crazy to think he might be better then say Trevor Lawerence? 

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Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: 2021 NFL Draft prospect rankings 1.0

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11) Trey Lance, QB

School: North Dakota State | Year: Sophomore (RS)

Lance has a thick/sturdy frame for the quarterback position. He only started 17 games at North Dakota State, but there is plenty to get excited about. He split his time between under center and in the shotgun. He plays with excellent patience and poise, taking what the defense gives him. He rarely puts the ball in jeopardy (he didn't throw an interception until his final collegiate game). He shows the ability to change ball speed and trajectory underneath, while also displaying the velocity to fit the ball into tight windows on intermediate throws. His deep-ball accuracy needs to improve, though. He has a bad habit of sinking his weight before he throws, which impacts his placement. He is very strong in the pocket, routinely shrugging off rushers and creating plays. He is ultra-competitive on designed QB runs, displaying build-up speed and power. Lance is going to need time to develop, but I'm going to bet on his skill set, competitiveness and decision-making.

 

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In his latest mock draft, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. projected the New England Patriots to select North Dakota State QB Trey Lance via a trade with Denver for the No. 9 pick.

In the third of Kiper Jr.'s trade-up scenarios projected in his latest mock draft, he sees the Patriots giving up the number 15 overall pick, a second-rounder and another 2022 selection to secure their next franchise quarterback. The selection of Lance here means Kiper Jr. is mocking five quarterbacks to be taken in the first nine selections, with the Carolina Panthers selecting Mac Jones at eight overall. Though the Patriots are infamous for trading down, they did slide up to take Josh Uche and Devin Asiasi on Day 2 last year and could be persuaded to pony up some early picks to select Tom Brady's heir apparent. 

SOURCE: Mel Kiper Jr. ESPN

Feb 25, 2021, 5:47 PM ET

 

 

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TREY LANCE QB, COLLEGE PLAYER

NBC Sports' Peter King said he wouldn't be surprised if Alabama's Mac Jones was drafted before North Dakota State's Trey Lance. 

King cited a source from a QB-needy NFL team who said Lance's lack of recent play -- he's played one game in the past 414 days -- makes him an iffy selection as a top-10 pick. North Dakota State canceled its 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “He’s a guy we all needed to see more of, for a lot of reasons,” the source told King. Lance in 2019 rushed for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns while completing 66.9 percent of his passes for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns. His dual-threat potential would seem to fit perfectly for NFL teams looking to emulate the success of teams quarterbacked by hyper-athletic passers, but Lance's dearth of experience could scare off a number of teams in this spring's draft. 

RELATED: 

Mac Jones

SOURCE: MMQB

Mar 1, 2021, 8:43 AM ET


 

 

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On 2/26/2021 at 1:44 AM, Deamon said:

Still see this guy going in the 8-10 range.

Maybe as high as 4.

He's not NFL ready but as teams rosters and draft order currently sit it's a bit of an odd year that kind of works in his favor. And by that I mean we got Atlanta, Carolina and Detroit who all likely need a new QB in 2022. Dallas and Philly might and the other QB needy team is Denver and they could allow Lock to hold the fort down.

A lot of QB needy teams with the ability to give him most of all of a season.

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4 minutes ago, menobrown said:

Maybe as high as 4.

He's not NFL ready but as teams rosters and draft order currently sit it's a bit of an odd year that kind of works in his favor. And by that I mean we got Atlanta, Carolina and Detroit who all likely need a new QB in 2022. Dallas and Philly might and the other QB needy team is Denver and they could allow Lock to hold the fort down.

A lot of QB needy teams with the ability to give him most of all of a season.

Yep I agree that all those teams need one.  So I could see him going in the 8-10 zone when all those teams pick. 

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47 minutes ago, Deamon said:

Yep I agree that all those teams need one.  So I could see him going in the 8-10 zone when all those teams pick. 

I think it's more likely that one of those teams will trade up to get him after the top 3 QB's are off the board.

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8 minutes ago, Marauder said:

I think it's more likely that one of those teams will trade up to get him after the top 3 QB's are off the board.

Possibly, but I'd be shocked if qbs went 1-2-3. So I don't see lance really in play at 4. 

I still think qbs go 1-2-6-7

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4 hours ago, Faust said:

Trey Lance has excellent speed, but the translation here to me is that Lance believes his rumored time is better than his timed 40.  For a guy who has had essentially a year to focus all of his athletic energy on preparing for the draft, that actually concerns me a bit.  I realize running speed is not the be-all-and-end-all for QB evaluation, but it is one of the components of Lance's game which has vaulted him into a first-round prospect.  With so little game tape to evaluate, Trey Lance should take every opportunity display his abilities.

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On 3/1/2021 at 10:20 AM, Deamon said:

Possibly, but I'd be shocked if qbs went 1-2-3. So I don't see lance really in play at 4. 

I still think qbs go 1-2-6-7

And I feel pretty confident thinking QB's go 1-3 but my guess is they go 1-4.

I also think it's premature to assume Lance is QB4.

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This guy makes Miami's 3rd pick very interesting. If the Jets do not take a QB at 2, Miami will have a lot of teams wanting to move up real fast. 

Carolina at 8, San Fran at 12, New Eng at 15 and Chicago at 20 all want to move up and get one of the Big 4 at QB, I also like Mac Jones and think he can function just fine in the NFL but if we are talking Trey Lance, there are many suitors who would like t move up and draft him.  

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On 10/7/2020 at 12:47 PM, DJackson10 said:

I've been on the Trey Lance bandwagon since he started at NDST. Probably their best QB since Wentz there. Has a range of good tools. Am I crazy to think he might be better then say Trevor Lawerence? 

Yes 🤣

But he's good and worthy of a high pick. 

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